Tag Archives: business

Meth and me?…And You?

13 Feb

Image result for methamphetamemes drugs

Once again I returned to my local pharmacy in search of my allergy medication…and when I ask for Claritin-D (spoiler alert: It contains pseudoephedrine!) They scan my NJ driver’s license, and wait for their computer to say I’m OK (as in I didn’t buy some yesterday… anywhere in the state… let alone from the same store or from a different person, and have not exceeded my one pill per day allowance) (The computer of course knows all this) then I sign my name and offer payment and off I go with drugs in hand.

Then later today I saw this report in my news feed: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), in a newly released report, said that it saw a dramatic 5,657 percent increase is Methamphetamine seizures from 2015 to 2017 in New Jersey, jumping from 4,468 to 257,206 grams!

According to the DEA, One of the explanations for the rise in methamphetamine use (which can be made from pseudoephedrine, hence my having to prove who I am when purchasing it lest I go home and cook up some Meth) is that it has become a popular substance to help combat heroin withdrawal symptoms because “meth” is readily available, inexpensive, and provides the user with a high that can last more than 24 hours.

And Heroin has become a favorite drug of use for Americans lately because of the recent opioid epidemic which has also kept the DEA quite busy over the past few years.

Opioids are expensive and their abuse usually begins with a doctor’s prescription. Then when the abuser can’t afford those he turns to heroine which is cheaper and then to “meth” because that is cheaper still and they all seem to provide the same high and/or help with withdrawal from the previously abused drug.

In the DEA’s report, their analysis found that purity levels of the NJ Meth are as high as 99 percent! Which they say is indicative of large-scale labs in Mexico, where the Sinaloa Cartel are attempting to expand its market for crystal methamphetamine in New Jersey.

Said DEA special agent in charge, Valerie A. Nickerson, “Over the last several years much emphasis has been placed on the opioid epidemic. We are also taking this methamphetamine threat seriously. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those people and drug organizations who choose to put this drug on our streets.”.

To which I add…Seriously? USA law enforcement has been fighting a declared war on drugs, and those who make and distribute them, for over 60 years! And how are they doing? We now have 5,657 percent more of Methamphetamine than we had 3 years ago! And that’s just in NJ! And that’s just Meth! And that’s just in the last 3 years let alone 60! How much more of every other drug do we have now in the USA then we did 5, 10, 25 or 60 years ago!

That’s some war! And something tells me that we’re losing and it’s not even close. And I’m not even complaining about my having to wait in line and show my driver’s license just to get a little allergy medication…but obviously that little regulation isn’t helping one little bit.

And the DEA and all of law enforcement for that matter,  knows where it’s coming from because they told us in their report. And they even know the names of the particular bad guys who are selling this particular drug…and where they live! And no one can catch them or stop them?…after 60 years of trying?

And the opioid epidemic we know starts with doctors! Who write prescriptions! To give the drugs to their patients… and they get those opioids from American pharmaceutical companies! And we all know who they are too! And where they are! And we can’t stop them either? Why not?

Because there is no drug war. In America we have the Drug Business. And it’s a very lucrative business and if you are on the selling, making, enforcing, legislating, banking, jailing, treating or doctoring  side of it you make great money. And if you are on the using side of it you spend great money, and get high and possibly go to jail… but usually only if you are already poor, or browner than most or not in cahoots with someone on the money making side of the equation…or you ruin your family, lose your friends and eventually die from overuse and/or abuse.

And that’s drugs in America!…and the war continues…and that’s only with the illegal ones! The legal drugs are an even bigger business! And we’ve got no war with those…more like a love affair. So “Just say no” and don’t do them…or not? It doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other as far as “the war” is concerned.

Ironically though The Federal Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act was actually such a success that domestic meth production plummeted. And so Production has shifted to Mexican super-labs, and some smaller American labs which all now make a more potent version that is nearly 100 percent pure…

And it’s cheap! And meth cases now account for the majority of federal drug cases in more than half of U.S. states… but my Claritin-D now costs too much for me to want to try to buy it all up and open a meth-lab. I’d never be able to make a profit! So go figure. Are we winning or losing the drug war?

Well, according to our President’s most recent tweets, drugs are pouring over our southern border in record numbers… but our economy is doing great and jobs are up and The Dow is up… so we should all cheer up…and build that wall ASAP! (He really did recently say all of those things, just not all in the same tweet)

So that about sums it up… I guess? But cheap is good, right? So Tally Ho!…Just say No! And Into the valley of death… We go!?

 

That’s How We Do: Juxta-Posers

7 Feb

Just thought I’d repost this from a few years ago after listening to Lawrence O’Donnell today and The POTUS yesterday speak about Socialism and how we (The USA) will never, ever be a socialist country in any way shape or form…

Today I took a drive to the Philadelphia airport and on the drive home, thanks to major construction and the worn out, pot-holed, crumbly highway, I was forced to a crawl just as I passed the relatively new South Philadelphia Stadium Complex. Where the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and Flyers play.

I couldn’t help but notice how shiny and new and spectacular the stadiums looked…however I also couldn’t help but notice that the names on the stadiums were Citizens Bank Park Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and The Wells Fargo Center. And I also couldn’t help but notice that the surrounding neighborhoods were about as shiny and new and spectacular as the interstate highway  that I was traveling on.

And that got me to wondering…Why do we almost always put sports stadiums in the worst parts of big cities where then millions of people have to travel from the suburbs to spend millions of dollars to watch millionaires play? Probably you’ll say it’s so we can get all of that money that is being spent back into the cities…but that’s just not the case

Most if not all of these stadiums are financed by the crumbling cities themselves rather than by the wealthy teams and owners and financial institutions that have their names on them. And even though banks like Wells Fargo and  Citizens bank and Lincoln Financial pay millions for the naming rights, when you consider the recent trillions of dollars spent by the federal government in bailing out these banks then just about all of the money spent on these ballparks comes from…the citizens…not banks.

 That’s just plain crazy.

Many politicians and proponents of these publicly financed stadiums argue that new stadiums bring new jobs and economic expansion but when new sport stadiums are financed with public money, all research has shown that the population is actually worse off economically than before the stadium.

In fact arenas and stadiums rarely live up to the promises teams, owners, and city politicians use to justify their construction. Cities are often left holding unsustainable amounts of debt because the economic development that is promised never shows up, and as a result, other services that provide more benefit to taxpayers like new roads and bridges and jobs and boring things like that are slashed to pay the bills.

Which when you think about it is insane.

Almost 40 years ago my home state of New Jersey borrowed $302 million to  construct  the Meadowlands and was supposed  to pay off the bonds in 25 years. Today because of refinancing, and redirecting funds for other stadiums the authority that runs the Meadowlands owes $830 million…on a stadium that was just torn down.

That’s nuts!

Did you know that according to a new study from Harvard: when public-private partnerships are used to build such stadiums, taxpayers finance more than three-quarters of the investment, with teams and owners picking up just 22 percent of the tab…And every NFL franchise is today worth over 1 billion dollars!

It’s so ridiculous that it’s unbelievable!

And while our cities and infrastructures are crumbling around us we are cheering ourselves up by yelling, screaming and cavorting in the midst of abject poverty on urban oases as green as the piles of cash we spend there, named after banks that wouldn’t lend us a dollar under the very same deals and interest rates that they broker to build these coliseums.

Shouldn’t we  really be building these monuments to fame and fortune in the places where they belong like Beverly Hills, Wall Street and Fort Knox?

It’s so ridiculous that it defies explanation…

But after all…that’s just how we do…isn’t it?

 

New Jersey: Most Millionaires! Most Stressed?

5 Feb

Image result for rich and poor

Here’s something interesting… According to Phoenix Marketing International, New Jersey now has more rich people percentage-wise than anybody after nudging out the State of Maryland in 2018 as the state with the most per capita millionaires.

New Jersey now has 293,992 millionaire households, for a ratio of just about 1 in 11 NJ households with a net worth of over 1 million dollars. Jersey was ranked second in 2017, when it had only 258,988 millionaire households, so that’s a 13% increase over last year. And you thought Snookie was just a dumb Jersey Girl.

The report found that nationwide 7.7 million U.S. households had more than 1 million dollars in assets, which is an increase of more than 2 million households since the financial crisis of 2008.

So how is your household doing? I know that my household has not recouped our loses from the 2008 financial disaster nor have many of my NJ neighbors who have since moved away after losing their homes because of their mortgages going underwater…and later drowning as a result. Remember when that happened?

But for at least 2 million NJ families, after dozens of major companies failed and America landed in one of the worst recessions in its history, one family’s crisis was another family’s fortune…I guess?

Because according to Wellness.com and a recent in-depth study by real estate blog Movoto. which ranked states based on unemployment rates, population density, how many held health insurance, total cost of living, and how many hours people worked per week to “survive”, New Jersey was ranked the 3rd most “stressed” state in the nation!

Go figure! New Jersey has the most wealthy and the third most financially stressed residents in the nation! It’s now the Have Most and the Have Not State! Hmmmmmm…so does this mean that as the rich get richer the poor really do get poorer? Gee who would have thunk it?!

At least the economy is doing great whether you are or not…So, Hey New Jersians! Are you working hard or hardly working? And here in the 21st Century does that necessarily mean what we think it means?

 

 

 

Nothing Really Matters. Anyone Can See…

26 Jan

This man is United States Commerce Secretary, Mr. Wilbur Ross.

“The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. … This organization’s main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and improve standards of living for all Americans.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said recently that he doesn’t “understand” why federal workers who haven’t been paid in weeks are going to food banks during the ongoing shutdown and that he doesn’t see why thousands of unpaid federal workers have been relying on food banks when they could just take out loans from, you know, money banks.

Now Mr. Ross has a net worth of about $700 million dollars so he should know a lot about having money but probably doesn’t know a lot about how easy it is, or hard, to go to your local bank and take out a loan, when say, you only make 15 dollars an hour…and are quite probably 699, 999, 000 dollars short of 700 million!

But be that as it may Mr. Ross also added this “I know they are (going to food banks) and I don’t really quite understand why. So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it, and we’ve seen a number of ads of financial institutions doing that. These are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed, these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down. So there is really not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis now. Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it’s paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea.”

So once again he seems a bit confused as to why a government employee wouldn’t get a loan or why he/she might be hungry but did you notice what he said at the end there?…In The part I highlighted?

He said that they are going to get paid eventually and everything they are owed. As in the US Government is not saving any money with this shutdown. The government is just screwing with their workers! Why? Because! That’s why!…Remember when you were a kid and you played that game because you really had no argument to make?

Well, apparently the rich bastards who run our country think they are playing a game too. And the people who work for them are just pawns, peons, serfs or whatever. And can’t they just get a loan and eat cake for chrissakes?! Why do they have to get so pissy about missing a paycheck or two? It’s only money and We’ve got important governing to do!

“You’re talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers, if they never got their pay — which is not the case, they will eventually get it – but if they never got it, you’re talking about a third of a percent on GDP so it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”

They don’t count anyway! If we’re talking money here, we’re just talking about 1/3% of the GDP so who cares? 800,000 workers not getting paid? We have millions and millions and millions of workers in this country, most of whom get shitty pay anyway so, I mean like, Hey! Can I get a piece of that cake here too please?!
And if we are really talking just numbers, according to US Customs and Border Protection, apprehensions on our nation’s southwest border totaled 396,579 for all of 2018. So if 800,000 is an insignificant number of people to Commerce Secretary Ross, the original Mr. Money-pants, then how insignificant is a number less than half that amount?  How much of an impact can fewer than 400,000 immigrants crossing our southern border have on our GDP? 1/2 of 1/3 of a percent?! Even I know how insignificant that is because that’s the interest I get on my money at…the money bank!

To wit: We need a wall to protect us from the insignificant demon hoards at our border? Really?? It might as well be made out of little children’s building blocks for all the good it will do and for all the relief it will provide to those gullible, angry, hateful, naive and childish enough to believe that their great white fathers care about protecting them… from their own imaginations!

The joke is on you, me, everyone. There will never be a wall. It’s all an imaginary game being played by infantile old white men who live in an alternate fantasy world where for them…all is in abundance. And for we frightened peons, “Are there no benevolent bankers? Are there no dollar menus?”

Now let me get back to my counting! Do you know how long it takes to count to 700 million or 3 billion or 10 billion even?! Oh wait! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! I’ve forgotten who I’m talking to…now run along like good little children and go find that cake!

No Pseudo For You!

22 Mar

Image result for pseudoephedrine

So I made my usual trip to the pharmacy to purchase my allotment of Claritin-D which is regulated by the Federal government because it contains Pseudophedrine, a substance that can be used to make Crystal-Meth, and when I produced my driver’s license (necessary according to Federal law) and it was scanned into the pharmacy’s computer, the computer responded with a funny noise and…

No Pseudo for me!

Now I don’t make Crystal-Meth, and I don’t want to…but I do have allergies and Claritin-D helps a lot but the machine hath spoken… said the clerk, and I was denied my medication. She didn’t know why the machine made a funny noise and when she called over the pharmacist he didn’t know either. And don’t look at me because I didn’t have a clue, except for the fact that my wife might have taken one or two of my pills during the course of the past week and so I may have used my allotment without knowing it…but the computer apparently did!

And since the machine made the noise and refused to continue with the transaction there was nothing any of us could do. No sale! No how! No way! I was left to my sneezes and itchy nose and hopes for another day…

Once upon a time I was able to receive my allergy medication from a doctor who would prescribe it for me and the pharmacist would fill the prescription and that was that. Then the medication was approved for over the counter sales and not only did it become more expensive but also was subject to more government regulation and hence the day was soon to come when not a doctor, nor a law enforcement officer, but rather a common clerk would have the authority to tell me:

No Pseudo for you!

Now what am I to do? Turn to Heroine? That won’t help with my allergies! Hit the black market? Turn to a life of crime? Or perhaps I will have to just wait until the machine says that it is OK for me to have some more…after all I am not a criminal and I am not in the Crystal-Meth making business nor do I need any more than the amount necessary to quench my allergy symptoms…

So I ask you: Why can’t we do this with Opioids?

Just take them out of the hands of the doctors who always seem to prescribe more than they should because they empathize so strongly with the pain and suffering of their patients. Take them out of the hands of the Pharmaceutical companies who can’t seem to help wanting to make as much money as they possibly can by producing more pills than is humanly possible for humans to consume responsibly, and also take them out of the hands of the pharmacists who fill prescriptions simply because… they are prescribed.

Let’s put opioids in the hands of the computers and the common store clerk who has no authority to do what he or she can’t do except say, No Oxy for you! …When the machine goes whir or beep or whatever. Then the opioid user has a choice: Wait until they can purchase more to manage their pain, as medically prescribed by federal law, or…turn to a life of crime. In which case they would then be responsible for their own addiction (which we don’t seem to hold them responsible for now…like the hundreds of thousands of addicts we stow away in our prisons)

We’ve been at war with drugs in America for 60 years! Law enforcement has not worked…but they’re still on the job. Walls have not worked…but we still want to build more. Drug companies have not helped.. and they still keep churning out more and more pills. Doctors have not helped….and they still keep on writing those prescriptions. So Maybe simple computers and work-a-day clerks can get the job done?

Achoo!

 

Did You Get Your Money?

8 Mar

Image result for tax reform

There is a commercial being run on television here in the New York metropolitan area featuring a young mother explaining to the camera that now that she has received her 2,000 dollar increase in her pay check and a $1,000 bonus from the company she works for… as direct results of the recent Republican tax reform, life in America is so much easier because she and her family can now afford to buy so many more of the things that they need.

Has this happened to you? Are you earning 3,000 dollars more than you were 3 months ago? The commercial says that this is the average increase in middle class workers pay throughout the country.

I have received about 32 dollars more in my monthly pay or around 380 dollars over the course of this coming year…and of course since I have not filled out my 2018 tax return, because that will not be due until another year from now, I have no way of knowing whether I will receive more in tax savings or will have to pay it all back (and more?) because of the deductions I am going to lose because of the new tax plan.

So are we all getting richer or am I the only unlucky tax payer in America?

I would love to hear about your good fortunes! Thanks!

Spending Spree!?

7 Feb

Image result for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife posing with money

House Majority Leader, Paul Ryan, tweeted recently that “a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week …  she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.”

That’s 78 bucks per year and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, pictured above with his lovely wife and their lovely trophy (or is that trophy wife and their lovely money?) said that 90 percent of American workers will see some kind of an increase in their take-home pay.

My increase was $7.38 per week for a total tax break of 384 big ones! But of course I have not filed my taxes for 2018 yet because it’s not 2019 yet so I still have to wait a whole year to see how much of the 384 dollar yearly raise I will actually be able to keep. All of it? Some of it? Will I have to give it back plus some because of the other changes to my tax deductions? After all I live in… New Jersey!!!!

Anyway, if you read this blog I would be interested to know what your tax break looks like…

If you would like to share, please leave the size of your weekly pay increase (or bi-weekly or monthly if you choose) in the comments column. I’d be interested to see a cross section of readers and their “raises”. Thanks!

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